National Space Society Cheers Second Crewed Flight of New Shepard

Blue Origin crew

Crewmember William Shatner speaks eloquently upon return from the record-breaking flight

Today marks another dramatic first in the world of NewSpace, the second crewed flight of the commercial New Shepard spacecraft, with famed “Star Trek” actor William Shatner flying with other notable passengers. The National Space Society (NSS) congratulates Blue Origin, its large and motivated workforce, and the flight participants on the record-breaking event.

Greeted by Jeff Bezos upon his return to Earth, Shatner spoke eloquently about the experience. “What you have given me is the most profound experience. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It was extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from it. I hope I can maintain what I feel right now.” He was briefly overcome by emotion, then went on to talk about the fragility of the Earth and its atmosphere, and the larger implications of the flight.

“This is a great moment for Blue Origin and their efforts to advance STEM education and careers,” said Michelle Hanlon, President of NSS. “That this particular mission included William Shatner offers a poetic union of science and science fiction. The original Star Trek series inspired many people – like me – to reach for the stars. The message to ‘boldly go’ resonates in any language or industry and reminds children everywhere that their future is bound only by their imaginations.”

The National Space Society, a recent recipient of a generous grant from the Jeff Bezos-founded and STEM-oriented Club for the Future, lauds this remarkable second crewed flight of the New Shepard. It is also the fourth flight of this booster and the capsule RSS First Step, and a significant advance in the reusability and affordability of rockets and spacecraft.

Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, said, “At Blue Origin, we are motivated by the dreamers that inspire us and the builders who turn those dreams into reality …. This flight was another step forward in flying astronauts safely and often.”

Flying with Shatner were Audrey Powers, Vice President of New Shepard Operations, and paying customers and tech entrepreneurs Chris Boshuizen of Earth-imaging company Planet Labs and Glen de Vries of Medidata Systems.

Karlton Johnson, Chairman of the NSS Board of Governors, commented, “What Blue Origin and William Shatner have achieved with this launch highlights the core mission of NSS: To make space available to anyone to work in, live in, and ultimately thrive in. Whether young or seasoned, scientist or poet, the high frontier is one large step closer to all of us than ever before.”

“Today’s flight cements the role of Blue Origin in the expansion of spaceflight to everyone,” said Rod Pyle, Editor-in-Chief of the NSS magazine, Ad Astra. “A new record has been set for the upper age limit of spaceflight participants with Mr. Shatner, at 90 years old, surpassing Wally Funk, who was 82. The previous record holder was John Glenn at 77 in the space shuttle. It is notable that the two oldest persons to fly, as well as the youngest, Oliver Daemen at 18, traveled aloft in the New Shepard. It’s a great day for the democratization of space.”

Medical data from Shatner will be evaluated to determine the effects of the flight on older physiologies and will contribute to our knowledge about the effects of launch and landing forces and microgravity on the human body.

This flight is just one more step toward the realization of NSS’s goals and its Roadmap to Space Settlement. The future is growing closer at an ever-increasing pace.

Image: The crew of today’s flight, left to right: Dr. Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers, and Glen de Vries. Courtesy Blue Origin.


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